Did Rap Genius Fool Us All?
Dec28

Did Rap Genius Fool Us All?

12SHARESFacebookTwitter If you type Rap Genius into Google you’ll find that Rap Genius is being mentioned quite a lot with their website being linked to on some very high authority websites including sites such as the LA Times, IB Times, Gawker, Billboard.com and a plethora of other sites linking to the either the homepage or apology blog post on RapGenius.com. I thought I’d put together a list of sites that are now linking to Rap Genius as a result of their de-listing on Google. Search Engine Land Billboard.com Gawker IB Times All Things D The Verge Tech Crunch Rolling Stone Spin.com LA Times Washington Post Mashable PC Magazine Huffington Post Tech Radar ABC News Wall Street Journal The Wire A lot of these sites have linked to RapGenius.com in the past, so the impact is likely to a lesser importance than new sites that have never linked to Rap Genius. For example, PC Mag, TechRadar, ABC News, and Search Engine Land are first timers when it comes to even mentioning Rap Genius — let alone linking to their website. This makes their links of higher value, as they are simply links that never existed on those sites before. Will these high authority sites benefit Rap Genius? Whilst these high authority links to Rap Genius won’t benefit rankings now, will they once Rap Genius are out of Google’s sandbox? It’s quite interesting as these are links that would not have been easy to get, but they now have these links because of this entire link scheme debacle. If irony could be described in the link building world, then this would be the perfect example of it. In fact, these links are worth more to the future of Rap Genius than the supposed “affiliate” or ‘Links for a Tweet’ scheme they employed — had they not been caught. It will be interesting to monitor their comeback once they’ve disavowed or contacted the bloggers they enrolled on this link building adventure of theirs. Why was Rap Genius Penalised? Why are links important for websites? An elaborate scheme that has played into the hands of Rap Genius The question remains, did Rap Genius fool us all? Did they plan this even bigger and more elaborate event of obtaining linkbacks to their own site? They sure did churn out that large apology letter (with annotations) on their own site rather quickly, which is where all these big sites have been linking. I also have to say bravo to John Marbach, who has now gained more links to his own site and exposure to his email service than he could have ever dreamed. I doubt John...

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Matt Cutts: ‘Not necessary for every page to have a meta description’
Dec26

Matt Cutts: ‘Not necessary for every page to have a meta description’

21SHARESFacebookTwitter I’ve done a few meta tags in my time and I’m glad this has come up. I even created a specific way you’d be able to identify and make meta description updates to your site using Screaming Frog. In this video Matt Cutts has stated that he, even on his blog, doesn’t create meta description for all of his pages/posts. Instead he recommends allowing Google to automatically create a meta description by scraping data that is available on-page. However states that for the high ROI pages (or what I call “landing pages”) should have custom meta descriptions. The only warning that Google’s Head of Search Spam did give is the fact that you should not duplicate your meta descriptions. I would go ahead and say that you shouldn’t really duplicate anything. Whilst this was already known, there are in fact plugins for WordPress that do a much better job at automatically creating meta descriptions than Google. These are my two picks: Yoast SEO for WordPress SEO Ultimate for...

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Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong
Dec26

Google Penalises Rap Genius – Offsite SEO Gone Wrong

14SHARESFacebookTwitter On Christmas day, Google penalised a large US-based lyrics website and removed its presence from the SERPs. John Marbach, the guy that exposed Rap Genius wrote an article on his blog entitled “RapGenius Growth Hack Exposed” detailing how Rap Genius had improved its search rankings by enticing bloggers to add linkbacks to Rap Genius’ website that contained heavily targeted anchor text — in exchange for a Tweet to said page. (A link for a Tweet) This is what the search results look like when you search for “Rap Genius” at the moment: As you can see RapGenius.com can’t be seen other than on other websites mentioning the now penalised website. This is the sort of link building that RapGenius.com has been doing: That’s just asking for trouble. That’s 16 links to the same site with targeted keyword anchor text to specific pages on the RapGenius.com website. The reason they got caught? They weren’t careful enough. This sort of link building activity likely sent alarm bells ringing, and the fact that they were publicly exposed and publicly reaching out to bloggers like this on Facebook was just another nail in the coffin or even the final nail in the coffin. What’s the course of action? Rap Genius can definitely bounce back from this, as we’ve seen this sort of penalty with brands like Interflora and BMW. They need to contact all of the sites that they’ve reached out to delete the linkbacks to RapGenius.com or either disavow them. Now Rap Genius’ entire backlink profile will be under scrutiny. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and whether they recover from this. I don’t see why they shouldn’t recover from this if they act quickly. Another point is the fact they’ve likely gained a lot of attraction, as major sites like TechCrunch are now linking to RapGenius.com, which should count for them when they get back on their feet. It’s really quite interesting how a negative can also be a positive. Obviously the negativity of this is at a much higher percentage, but sometimes you just have to look at the positives — even if minimal. Matt Cutt’s “When penguins attack” post on Twitter When penguins attack! Merry Christmas! pic.twitter.com/iEs9yKBVXC — Matt Cutts (@mattcutts) December 25, 2013   What’s your take on...

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Google gives preference to Google+ (Duh!)
Dec22

Google gives preference to Google+ (Duh!)

10SHARESFacebookTwitter It appears that I’ve managed to get my authorship working, but just not on this site. I presume this is because Google are essentially trying to push their product, Google Plus. Unfortunately this is not what I was expecting, but nonetheless I’ll still take it. I posted yesterday on Twitter that I’d be looking into implementing authorship on two of my sites. Just setup Google Authorship on two of my sites — should have done that a while ago. Will be fun to see my face in the SERPs. #GooglePlus — Jonathan Jones (@Jonny_J_) December 20, 2013 I’ve done this by verifying my websites using emails that are connected to the domains I own to verify my authorship status. I’ve also added a much more suitable picture as I’ve read that Google are quite stringent on the types of pictures you can use. You obviously can’t use pictures of cats, dogs or anything else other than a human face; otherwise, that would give you the benefit of higher click-through rates (CTR). This is obviously something Google are against, and you should only really be having rich snippets on listings that you’ve actually written yourself. It’s quite unfortunate as I did already have Google Plus authorship setup (also known as “rich snippets”) — I believe in that occurrence, however, I didn’t have an image uploaded that Google would be willing to accept. It was a side shot of my head. From Google’s own words: “Make sure that you have a profile photo with a recognisable headshot” Otherwise, you’ll find that your mug might not ever appear in the results. You’ll likely get the following issue where your only your Google Plus account will be linked to with no image in sight. See “by Jonathan Jones“. (Only text; boo!) Where Google+ was given preference over my own site And, this is the part where Google+ was given preference over my own website. I actually don’t really think this to be the case, and would moreover conclude that this is due to Google+ being crawled then indexed quicker than my site. I’ve heard it could take a minimum of  a week to start seeing my lovely face in the search results — after implementing the rel=”author”, adding your site to G+ and verifying your website using the same domain as your content (not necessary). Why does Google’s Authorship for Google Plus matter? According to a case study by Catalyst Search Marketing, click-through rates (CTR) increased by 150% when the authorship image showed up on their listings. It’s also quite obvious that if you have an image next to a bunch of...

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Title & Meta Optimisation using Screaming Frog
Dec21

Title & Meta Optimisation using Screaming Frog

12SHARESFacebookTwitter It’s important to optimise your meta descriptions and titles so that they stand out in the search engine results pages (SERPS) and if you’ve got a particularly large website then the process can be quite daunting. However, with the help of programs like Screaming Frog, you should be able to speed this process up a little. And, I really do mean a little, as you’ll still be spending most of your time writing page titles & meta descriptions. Here, I’ll show you how I’m going to optimise my titles and meta descriptions for Vlexo.Net. I’ve been meaning to do this for a couple months now, but I’ve just not had the time to do this. I guess I don’t have that excuse anymore, as I’m on annual leave. 🙂 What is Screaming Frog? Screaming Frog is a crawler and it’s something you should be aware of if you have ever delved in the world of SEO. It’s an awesome tool, in my opinion, which helps you to identify areas of your website/blog that need improvement. For example, you can see where on your site you’re missing H1 & H2 tags or if there are duplicate H1 & H2 tags – with a number to go alongside it. It’s essentially a tool that analyses your website from an SEO perspective. I won’t go into too much description on this, as you can find out what the tool does on the Screaming Frog website. Play around with it and get used to it. In fact, don’t even read about what it does, just run the program and see what you can find out after you enter your site in the URL field. How do you go about optimising your site’s titles and meta descriptions? It’s simple. Using Screaming Frog I simply typed in my domain in the URL field and hit “Start”. What this does is crawl your entire site — pages, images, css, javascript and probably more — then you can use this information accordingly by exporting this data into an Excel spreadsheet and adding into a table to filter it. This is what it should look like in Screaming Frog: The time consuming task is actually coming up with high quality meta descriptions and titles. It’s probably worth doing keyword research behind the pages you’re trying to optimise. For now, you can optimise each page for keywords that you think people will be searching for to find your lovely website, which is essentially what I’m going to be doing with this site. Hit the export button and download the file. Open it up in Microsoft Excel:   It’s a little disjointed,...

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On Page Search Engine Optimisation
Sep04

On Page Search Engine Optimisation

9SHARESFacebookTwitter On Page Search Engine Optimisation Having done a bit of on page optimisation for websites – it’s always great to have a visual way in how you should be optimising a page with explanations as to why. Here’s a great infographic by BackLinko that explains which areas of the site you should be looking at for optimisation purposes. I’ll be honest and quite frank about Vlexo.net, as I haven’t really done optimisation on this site; however, I do plan to do a full days work of optimisation on this site to get it ranking better in the search results. Source: Infographic by...

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